Dating revealed the Neolithic bow was about 3,800 years old, while the oldest of the arrows were 5,400 years old.
Ancient Stone Age hunters probably used the bow and arrows to kill reindeer, which spend summer days at high altitudes. The mountain retreat would have allowed the animals a respite from pesky insects, while standing on snow patches would have helped the shaggy creatures keep cool, Callanan said. Those predictable habits likely made them easy prey for ancient hunters.
No one knows exactly who left these ancient hunting instruments, but the bow and arrows have a design that's strikingly similar to those found thousands of miles away in other frigid landscapes, such as the Yukon, Callanan said.
"The people in Norway, they didn't have any contact with people in the Yukon, but they have the same type of adaptation," Callanan said. "Across different cultures, people have acted in the same way."
Decomposing artifacts Finding such well-preserved tools is rare, said E. James Dixon, an archaeologist and director of the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico, who was not involved in the study.